By Dan Barron, Community Organiser
Initially RotherFed were engaging with multiple partners as part of the Ferham Steering groups including Ferham Primary School at the beginning of 2020. The consensus was that greenspaces in Ferham were scarce such as allotments and were originally looking at doing a greenspaces project that would encourage people to use this space again and make better use of the local parks etc. However, the steering group have not met again until October 2020 due to COVID19. This had changed the priorities for several groups over the year.
I had initially contacted the school in August/ September to discuss community projects. I had arranged for the neighbourhood’s team from the council to attend with us and another RotherFed community organiser whose remit is to engage with hard to reach & BAME groups. When we had met with them to talked about what previous community projects the school had been engaged in. The school have disclosed they are in special measures and is currently being governed by two new head faculty. Therefore, we have had to reengage with the educational projects that were planned. These projects cannot happen straight away due to the school’s priorities, but these are also issues that are reflective of the issues within the Ferham community, which we are looking to address.
The school have Identified current behavioural issues around cultural differences, racism, and homophobia and are currently focusing on dealing with this. We had agreed to use the school allotments as a tool to engage with the children and recruit volunteers from different cultural backgrounds to set examples of how people can work together.
Working with RMBC we have created a Ferham Primary School working group and invited several partners who are experienced in engaging with these community issues. The Ferham working Group currently consists of, REMA, Remedy, early action help, time builders, YMCA. Both YMCA and Remedy have partnered up to provide a 6-week educational programme to Y5 & Y6 pupils who are currently the year groups who are part of the issues within the school.
We are working with school trial allotment project, but the raised planters were decaying and broken. The aim of the project is to bring in volunteers from different cultural backgrounds and faiths to lead activities with the school to show and demonstrate how people from different backgrounds can work together and be friends regardless of differences. This has already been agreed with the school. The school has said they did not have the funding rebuild the space so RotherFed and RMBC neighbourhoods’ team have since sourced a business to build new planters. The RMBC neighbourhoods’ team have secured the funding for planters to be built to boost an allotment project on the school. If the trial is successful, the school is considering expanding to Ferham park.
We are trying to engage with parents to help with the volunteering at the allotment. The school have agreed to allow some volunteers to attend allotment sessions. We had found a volunteer willing to come in and support the allotment however shortly afterwards we have stopped advertising due to the lockdown restrictions.
As part of the seasonal holidays were currently running a Halloween competition specifically for the school for the kids as a bit of fun over the holidays. The Monster Mash (Make a monster competition) encourages pupils to get creative by drawing, crafting, or dressing up as a monster and sending it to the school dojo or by sending a picture to the school’s email address. We will work with the school to give out relevant prizes for the children’s competition.